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2007 Running head: High School Laptops - Laptop Initiative Impact: Assessed using Student, Parent and Teacher Data

Date: 2007
Author: Diane M. Murphy, Frederick B. King, Scott W. Brown
Affiliation: University of Connecticut and University of Hartford
Keywords: teacher attitudes, student attitudes, evaluation


In the Fall of 1999, researchers were invited to assist in the implementation and study of a Laptop Initiative for high school students. This initiative provided laptop computers for 247 students and 24 teachers who were grouped into 9th grade learning clusters at three high schools. The overall goals of this study centered on technology integration into the curriculum as an enhancement to teaching and learning. This report focuses on examining the integration of laptop computers into the classrooms of three urban high schools and the impact of the initiative on student, teacher and parent knowledge, attitudes and behaviors with regard to the new technology.

Research Questions:

* What differences existed in student, teacher and parent pre and post attitudes and self-efficacy, related to computer technology, after the implementation of the laptop initiative?

* What trends in attitude and self-efficacy data are evident within and/or across the three groups and/or three school settings?

* What conclusions, if any, can be drawn regarding program impact from the parent, teacher and student trend data?

Key Findings:

*A major concern is centered in the lack of significant change with regard to teacher attitudes about technology. The premise behind the KAB instrument design is that it is necessary to change both knowledge and attitudes in order to affect long-term behavior. The four-month Laptop Initiative intervention was unsuccessful in attaining the necessary attitudinal changes. Further investigation is necessary to see if the intervention is flawed/lacking or if the true culprit in this situation was time!

* The initial design and implementation of this technology initiative may have negatively influenced the overall success. District level administrators and outside researchers were the primary designers and implementers of this initiative. Teachers, students, and parents were invited to participate after major decisions had already been finalized at the district level.

* Teachers consistently expressed frustration with: the lack of information regarding equipment they were using; the failure to consider building/site differences between the 3 schools when planning for the technology integration and financial support; the constantly changing timelines for laptop delivery and infrastructure support; and the lack of/request for teacher input from day one.

* The technology initiative clearly failed to consider the impact of essential structural and organizational traits that support continuous teacher learning and fosters organizational learning community development.

* Today, less than 2 years later, the initiative is no longer functional. Some of the students who participated in the pilot year still have their laptops, while others have returned to the schools. The returned computers have been organized on carts for use in classrooms.

* However, no additional support (financial or otherwise) has been provided by the school district for program continuation. It is clear that the district and schools have failed to establish the conditions that help to support and maintain a learning organization.


* A detailed implementation plan would have prevented a number of the issues that doomed this project.

* Another recommendation would be to increase the training for the teachers, especially pedagogical. As stated earlier, the teachers received technology training once a month during in-service time (about 2 1/2 hours each month). This training primarily concentrated on the technology and technology skills. There was very little attention paid to the pedagogical changes that must take place for the successful integration of technology into classrooms.

* Training for the learners. Not all of the students in this research were at the same level of educational technology understanding, yet, they were treated as if they were.

* The final recommendation would be to have optional technology training courses, held at convenient times, for the parents. Parental knowledge of technology would, hopefully, translate into parental support of educational technology in the schools.

Source Article: http://aalf.org/Resources/Computers%20in%20the%20Schools,%20v24%20n1-2%20p57-73%20(Aug%202007)